“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I Corinthians 13:4-7
Here we go again . . .
It has been eight days since a young man driven by evil terrorized a community and took the lives of 17 innocent people in a Florida high school. The heart of the nation has been heavy, and the predictable stages of grief are in full force. Frustration that these attacks continue to happen has created a sense of urgency to do something, and the honest disagreements about what that something is leads to angry expressions on all sides of the arguments.
It’s time to interrupt this vicious cycle again with the only option we have. Just love.
- Be patient with others. Their points of view are as important to them as yours are to you.
- Be kind. A different perspective is not reason enough to abandon kindness.
- Do not boast. You may be right. But, no one is attracted to a know-it-all.
- Do not be proud. Pride is dangerous. It leads us to marginalize others with contempt.
- Honor others. Acknowledge the value in others. All of God’s creation is worthy of respect.
- Do not be angered. The energy we use being angry magnifies differences and minimizes commonalities.
- Do not count wrongs. This is not the time to keep score. This is the time to uncover facts.
- Rejoice in the truth. Your truth and the truth may not be the same. The person with whom you disagree may ultimately be the truth-teller, but all that matters to followers of Christ is THE truth.
I confess. It has been hard to stay out of the political debates that have renewed because of this tragedy. Frankly, I have questioned whether that was the right thing to do. But, God reminded me through the passing of the Reverend Billy Graham that doing so was the best choice. The calling on his life was simple – preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth and be faithful to that calling.
We aren’t all called to preach. But we are all called to make the name of Jesus known. Use the characteristics of agape love to do just that today.